Understanding Arthritis

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Published on July 01, 2015

Understanding Arthritis

What is arthritis?
Arthritis is inflammation of the joint. It may cause pain, swelling and stiffness, especially in the morning. This causes your joints to not work as well. Some people also feel more tired.

What causes arthritis?
We don’t know. There are hundreds of types, but arthritis can be divided into two categories. The first type is inflammatory such as rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammatory arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. This means the cells that usually fight off infection attack your own body. The second type is non-inflammatory arthritis such as osteoarthritis. This happens when the cartilage around your bones wears down. It is the most common type of arthritis.

What are some risk factors?
Even though we do not know what causes arthritis, we do know that some things put you at higher risk. They include:

  • Age
  • History of injury
  • Gender
  • Obesity
  • Genetics
  • Job

Is the body’s response the same for everyone?
No, every person is unique. Arthritis will affect each person differently.

Can arthritis be cured?
There is not a cure for arthritis. However, your doctor can help manage your symptoms. Inflammatory arthritis is easier to control. Pain medicine, anti-inflammatory medicine and therapy are all ways to help your arthritis. If those don’t work, your doctor may recommend other treatment and possibly surgery.

Does arthritis affect certain people more than others?
Arthritis can be seen in all age groups including children and adults, but it is more common in adults who are middle-aged or seniors. Most types of inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis are more common in females. In males, gout and ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis affecting spine and large joints) are more common.

What are some tips for decreasing the effects of arthritis?
In addition to medicines and therapy, some other ways to help arthritis are:

  1. Avoid activities that put stress on the affected joints
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Maintain a healthy weight

Will my arthritis ever just go away?
Arthritis won’t just go away with age. If you follow the tips to help with arthritis, you can slow down the progression of symptoms of the disease.

If I think I have arthritis, who should I go see? What should I do?
See your primary care provider. He or she may help you manage your symptoms or refer you to a specialist.

Dr. Satish Solanki is accepting new patients at Bronson Rheumatology Specialists in Battle Creek and Marshall. Call (269) 979-6333 to schedule an appointment.

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